Arplan envisions a new, green City Oasis for Latvia

November 25, 2020 by  
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The new City Oasis is a planned residential area in Riga, Latvia that has been designed for optimal efficiency. The project includes hundreds of homes in a highly functional district that is safe and green. City Oasis is expected to serve as an example of sustainable urban planning for the future. The plan was created by Arplan, an architectural firm based in Riga. It worked with B&R Progetti, architect Paolo Bodega and engineer Giussepie M. Rustignoli. The design won an architectural competition in 2011. It took 10 years to set a construction date for the project, which is officially expected to break ground in 2021. Related: SOM designs a low-carbon waterfront community for China’s “most livable city” The City Oasis is planned to sit next to a UNESCO World Heritage site. This made the development of the project challenging, as several approval processes had to be completed first. The building permits have now been issued and City Oasis is starting to look like a reality. Structural engineer Finmap Latvia worked on the project, using design technologies to create an optimal construction plan for City Oasis. “It will be an inclusive residential quarter, with well-thought-out planning and landscaping , aesthetic architecture, and high-quality materials for both the interiors and exteriors,” said Rolands Bruzgulis, founder and lead architect of Arplan. City Oasis is located on the site of a former textile factory that was founded in 1866. It was the largest factory of its kind in the Russian empire by 1913 and stayed in operation until 1989. While some of the old buildings onsite were destroyed, several historic elements were preserved, including a water tower and a locally famous chimney. These elements will be integrated into the masterplan. City Oasis will blend new buildings with preserved and restored historic buildings in a model that proves the past and the future can be blended together beautifully. The plan includes three buildings with six to seven stories each. Commercial space will be available on the ground floors. The new buildings will feature renovated, historic facades, which will maintain the character of the location. Several types of housing units will be available, including lofts and mezzanine-style apartments with their own private entrances. Premium apartments will be located in the restored, 19th-century villa. The residences’ heating and ventilation systems will recuperate residual heat to save energy . Developers also plan to preserve the site’s existing trees, some of which are more than 100 years old. A car-free zone will be included in the plan along with an underground parking area; a public courtyard will sit on top of the parking structure. City Oasis will be surrounded by schools, a public swimming pool, a large playground, a sports center and multiple cafes and restaurants. + Arplan Images via Yellow Stuudio

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Arplan envisions a new, green City Oasis for Latvia

Climate change is leading to increased winter drownings

November 24, 2020 by  
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A new study, published in the journal PLoS One , has revealed that there is a significant relationship between increased drownings in the winter and climate change. According to the study, regions that have experienced a sharp increase in average winter temperatures are also experiencing more drownings. The study, which was published last Wednesday, analyzed data collected in 10 countries in the Northern Hemisphere: U.S., Canada, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Italy, Russia, Finland, Latvia and Estonia. Many of the drownings that were studied happened when temperatures were just below freezing point. It was also observed that many increases in drownings occurred in Indigenous communities, where the people depend on the ice for their customs as well as for survival. Related: Danger looms as world’s largest iceberg heads toward a critical wildlife habitat The research showed that those affected by the drownings varied demographically. For instance, the most affected were children under 9 years old followed by teenagers and adults from ages 15 to 39. People who are accustomed to walking on icy landscapes may assume that the ice is stable enough without thinking about recent temperature fluctuations. One of the lead authors of the study, Sapna Sharma, explained that people may not think about how climate change is already impacting their everyday lives. Sharma, who is also an associate professor of biology at York University, said that we no longer have to just think about polar bears when we talk about climate change. The drownings are evidence enough that this crisis can affect anyone in any part of the world. “I think there’s a disconnect between climate change and the local, everyday impacts,” Sharma said. “If you think about climate change in winter, you’re thinking about polar bears and ice sheets, but not about these activities that are just ingrained in our culture.” According to Sharma, colder temperatures can be deceiving, especially at a time when the temperatures keep fluctuating. “It might be minus 20 Celsius today and tomorrow and the weekend, but last week it was 15 Celsius,” Sharma said. “Well, we might have forgotten as individuals that it was warm and sunny last week on a Tuesday, but the ice didn’t forget.” If the temperatures are milder than usual, the ice will not be as thick as one might expect. Robert McLeman, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier, explained, “Milder temperatures mean that the ice is not as thick, or not as solid as it would otherwise be. And so people are going out onto it and not realizing that the ice is rotten.” + PLoS One Via The New York Times Image via Pixabay

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Climate change is leading to increased winter drownings

Design experiment examines safety of food grown in urban vertical gardens

October 23, 2020 by  
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Interior architecture firm Annvil has brought together a team of urban planners, designers, environmentalists and natural scientists to study the interaction between the urban environment and horticulture. The project, called G(U)ARDEN, is a vertical garden experience set in Latvia aimed at exploring the safety of growing food in urban gardens. Urban agriculture has already been proven to reduce air pollution, collect and use runoff, increase productivity of space and aid in urban cooling, but it is still lacking in substantial scientific research in the safety of these plants being used for food. The G(U)ARDEN project will measure the biochemical composition of vegetables and fruits grown in urban environments, especially in places with intense traffic and air pollution.  Related: Snøhetta to revitalize Midtown Manhattan with vibrant garden The primary urban vertical garden of this project is located in Riga, Latvia and is made up of local plants from the city’s horticulture centers and nurseries. Researchers chose to use endemic plants to inspire residents to grow and conserve locally as well as to encourage sustainable and effective urban environmental development discussions. “Today we live in a digital world where everything is instantaneous. In answer to that, we want to stimulate people’s interest in real life — interest in the physical world and in being close to nature,” said Anna Butele, author of project G(U)ARDEN and the founder of Annvil. “We can do that by creating even more green environments in the city — meeting places that bring together different groups of society. This way we can also bring attention to neglected environments in the city.” The pilot program has started with the team studying the garden’s vegetable and fruit harvest in a scientific laboratory. Crops are measured for the presence of heavy metals, while the air and water is measured for microbiological composition to help identify all possible risk factors associated with the impact of the urban environment on edible plants . The data obtained from the experiment will aid in continued projects to help create a series of urban gardens in Latvia’s largest cities next year. + Annvil Photography by Ingus Baj?rs via Annvil

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Design experiment examines safety of food grown in urban vertical gardens

Renewable energy to power 2024 Olympic aquatic center

October 23, 2020 by  
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The architectural team of VenhoevenCS and Ateliers 2/3/4/ have revealed plans for a timber aquatic center in Paris, which will use a smart energy system to provide 90% of needed energy from recovered or  renewable energy  sources for the 2024 Olympics. The complex will also include a vast pedestrian bridge connecting it to the existing Stade de France. As the only new building constructed for the 2024 games, the timber aquatic center will remain useful well after the  Olympic  games end, with further opportunities for residents to learn swimming, practice sports, relax and build community. The idea is to provide healthy living incentives for the local people, as well as promote sustainability and biodiversity with abundant vegetation surrounding the structure. The proposal includes plans to create room for over 100 trees onsite to improve air quality, stimulate biodiversity and create new ecological connections. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones According to the designers, the complex’s  solar roof  will be one of France’s largest solar farms and will cover 25% of all required electricity consumption, equivalent to 200 homes. With water preservation paramount for utility cost and environmental conservation, the building includes an efficient water consumption system to reuse 50% of the old water when freshwater is needed. The center also utilizes  upcycled furniture  in its design. All of the furniture inside restaurants, bars and entrances uses wood waste from the construction site or demolition sites, and the chairs are fashioned from 100% recycled plastic collected from a nearby school. The main structure is made of  wood , with a suspended roof shape that will minimize the need for air conditioning and make it more efficient to heat. The interior Olympic arena tribunes on three sides and contains room for 5,000 spectators to congregate around a massive modular pool for swimming, diving and water polo competitions. All other events will occur inside temporary venues or existing structures. + VenhoevenCS Via Dezeen Design: VenhoevenCS & Ateliers 2/3/4/ Images: Proloog

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Renewable energy to power 2024 Olympic aquatic center

Schmidt Hammer Lassen designs BREEAM-seeking brewery renovation in Riga

March 23, 2018 by  
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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has beaten the likes of Henning Larsen and Zaha Hadid Architects in a competition to design Kimmel Quarter, a major urban revitalization project in Riga, Latvia . Located in the capital’s Central District, the project will be centered on the redevelopment of Brewery Kimmel, a 19th century beer brewery rich in history. The adaptive reuse scheme will preserve the site’s historical roots while adding new mixed-use programming that follow sustainable design principles. The 11,500-square-meter Kimmel Quarter will become Riga’s new destination for working, shopping, and recreation. The abandoned industrial buildings that occupy nearly an entire city block will be restored and transformed into a 30,000-square-meter office building, a hotel, a public gym, a child care center, a cafe, a spa, a food court, and a convenience store. Inviting courtyards and plazas will tie the various spaces together. “We wanted to create a new composition of building volumes as pragmatic and straight forward as the old industrial complex with a dynamic façade that pushes back and forth and up and down,” said Rasmus Kierkegaard, Associate Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “The resulting architecture is distinctly modern, but in a rewarding dialogue with the old restored buildings. We have designed a new Kimmel Quarter in which history and the future are bound by timeless architecture.” Related: Lookout Loop bird observatory in Latvia doubles as a temporary shelter Sensitive adaptive reuse, passive solar orientation, and use of recycled materials and rainwater are part of the design’s focus on sustainability. Kimmel Quarter will follow BREEAM standards and is expected to serve as one of Riga’s model project for meeting the European Union’s 2020 climate and energy package goals. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Schmidt Hammer Lassen designs BREEAM-seeking brewery renovation in Riga

Pape Bird Observation Tower is a glorious marriage of a birds nest and a jewel box

December 11, 2017 by  
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This charming bird observation tower looks like a mix between a bird’s nest and a jewel box. Berta Risueño Muzás and Manuel Pareja Abascal designed the structure to provide visitors of Latvia ’s Pape Nature Park with protection from the elements while also blending perfectly into its natural surroundings so as not to disrupt the local wildlife. The project, selected as the winner of the  Pape Bird Observation Tower Competition , combines timber and rope to achieve a sense of protection and privacy. The use of rope as a sustainable and economical material that is easy to transport, simplifies the fabrication of the structure. The tower can be completely assembled off-site, it is easy to maintain and replace. Related: Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve Different-sized aluminum frames are placed in the shell, creating openings that connect the interior of the tower with the surrounding landscape. A light timber frame envelops the tower with a double function– it strengthens the structure and frames the façade. + Pape Bird Observation Tower Competition

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Pape Bird Observation Tower is a glorious marriage of a birds nest and a jewel box

Lookout Loop bird observatory in Latvia doubles as a temporary shelter

November 23, 2017 by  
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Ulf Mejergren Architects just unveiled plans for a beautiful bird observatory in Latvia that doubles as a temporary shelter. The Lookout Loop has a sinuous, sculptural form that allows visitors to enjoy expansive views of the wetlands and rest before continuing on one of the paths through Pape Nature Park. The observatory rises from the ground like a dock, with three pairs of curved stair sections joining in a loop, leaving a void in the center. The stairs gets wider closer to the top and the upper landing serves as an observation deck on each pair of stairs. Covered spaces for shelter are located on both sides of the entrance. Related: X-Studio’s Lightweave Palm Observatory is Made Entirely From Palm Leaves The entire structure is made of rot-resistant Siberian larch heartwood. Small gaps between the planks were left in order to allow the wood to dry properly. This also creates a nice visual effect– light filters through the gaps and create the impression of permeability. The main structure is composed of poles interlocked with a treated wood truss-system. + Ulf Mejergren Architects

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Lookout Loop bird observatory in Latvia doubles as a temporary shelter

Thatch-roofed Dune House mimics the windswept dunes and grasslands of Latvia

September 15, 2016 by  
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The house was built close to the Baltic Sea, where the owner can enjoy kitesurfing and have an easy access to the beach. Informed by the surrounding landscape, the design of the house accentuates traditional building techniques and locally available building materials. The team designed a modern shape and combined it with the softness of reed hatch. Related: The Dune House is A Striking Daylit Vacation Home For Architecture Lovers in Suffolk While the structural frame of the house, made of laminated timber , is visible on one side, while the reed hatch covers most of the exterior wall on the other. Timber planks line the ridge of the roof. Pine wood dominates the interior that references rural architecture . It houses a wood-burning stove , an open-plan lounge, kitchen, dining area and living room. Related: Black House Blues is a gorgeous woodland haven for music lovers “We wanted to make the interior soft, simple and clean,” said Kalinauskas. “We believe this kind of spatial experience helps the inhabitants feel relaxed without any disturbing details so they can enjoy the beautiful surroundings,” said the architects. + Archispektras Via Dezeen Photos by Juozas Kamenskas

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Thatch-roofed Dune House mimics the windswept dunes and grasslands of Latvia

Thousands of paper bats swoop down on Latvias Nature Concert Hall

August 3, 2016 by  
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In contrast to last year’s Nature Concert Hall that comprised an angular pavilion, the 2016 iteration was created as a “levitating cloud” that hovers above a bandstand. The black origami bats were inspired by the common long-eared bat (Plecotus Auritus) that can be found living in Latvia year-round but are facing downward trends in population numbers due to human-induced changes. Related: Latvia’s Nature Concert Hall has a fabric skin that plays with the wind In a bid to raise awareness and appreciation of the bats, the designers created a giant cloud-like mass made from black pieces of paper folded into bat-like shapes. The bats are suspended in a giant net and carefully spaced to create an interesting gradient. The mass is opaque enough to double as a screen for video projections and light installations . “The volume of the cloud is referring to flocking bird and bat created dynamic geometries that can be found in nature,” write DJA. “To achieve maximum lightness and levitation effect art installation is suspended in 3 paired electricity columns far away each from another.” + Didzis Jaunzems Architecture + Nature Concert Hall Images by Uldis Lapins

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Thousands of paper bats swoop down on Latvias Nature Concert Hall

Latvian art students transform a single birch tree into energy for 70 people

April 10, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Latvian art students transform a single birch tree into energy for 70 people Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: AAL , birch , Design Department of the Art Academy of Latvia , feeding the planet energy for life , International Design Fair in Milan , skateboards , Welcome on Board , wooden skateboard

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Latvian art students transform a single birch tree into energy for 70 people

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